Volume 91, Issue 41

Tuesday, November 11, 1997



Sheet cheat

Re: Cheat sheets

To the Editor:
I walked into class the day before the physics exam and saw one of my classmates writing out a cheat sheet. I've always been impartial to cheat sheets, or for the more academically inclined, "information page," but this time I took offense to what I saw. I tried to identify with this student whom I'm sure will one day develop arthritis from having to write words barely visible to the naked eye and I asked myself, what is the purpose of a cheat sheet?

After much debate, I came to two conclusions. Either it's necessary information to pass the exam or it's a study tool. Personally, I believe the second is a much stronger argument, but allow me to tackle the former issue.

If teachers allow students to bring in a cheat sheet because of a fundamental necessity, then I have two responses. The first is either make the exam an open book exam or provide students with the apparently indispensable information. If the information isn't pertinent then get rid of these sheets altogether. Within the information paradigm I can't find the logic in an 8" x 11" piece of paper.

I find it more practical to talk about cheat sheets as a method of allowing students to study more effectively. I must agree there is a very important learning component in putting a cheat sheet together. If, however, the purpose of an information page is to aid students, then I suggest we have a bigger problem than the scope of this article. Therefore, I return to the first argument.

Either way your damned if you do and your damned if you don't.

Jesse Ikeman
Social Science II

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Copyright The Gazette 1997